SAP has embraced IBM as a “premier strategic provider” of cloud infrastructure services for its business critical applications. The partnership between the tech titans aims to accelerate the ability to run core business in the cloud.
Practically speaking, the deal means SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud is now available through IBM’s cloud. By rolling out on IBM cloud data centers, the SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud will expand to major markets more rapidly.
“The demand for SAP HANA and the SAP Business Suite on SAP HANA in the cloud is tremendous and this global agreement with IBM heralds a new era of cloud collaboration,” said Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP. And IBM Chairman, President and CEO Ginni Rometty, called the announcement “a significant milestone in the deployment of enterprise cloud.”
Who Brings What?
The benefits for enterprise customers are real, with IBM and SAP both bringing plenty to the table. SAP HANA offers in-memory computing capabilities combined with the ability to run mission-critical business applications, like SAP Business Suite, in a cloud environment.
For its part, IBM brings enterprise depth and the open architecture of IBM Cloud Managed Services and SoftLayer so customers can securely manage SAP workloads -- from trial to production -- on a consistent infrastructure, with transparency and control over where data resides.
SAP HANA will run on IBM Cloud with an open-standards-based approach that promises to help make it easier to integrate existing technology investments with new workloads. The companies also pointed to greater ease complying with regulatory mandates.
A Eureka Moment?
We caught up with Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, to get his take on the SAP-IBM alliance. Although Big Blue has in-memory and analytics products of its own that compete directly with SAP HANA, King told us there is a good case for “co-opetition” here. By that he means the ability of competing vendors to work together for mutual benefit.
“The deal should deliver substantial benefits to both companies. For SAP, the partnership is designed to present HANA in its best light, an important point for a technology and related processes that are still something of a mystery for many organizations,” King said. “The deal should also offer SAP access to new global customers and markets, including many that are interested in HANA but unwilling to pony up the cost of a dedicated solution.”
IBM, meanwhile, wins immediate validation of its cloud services solutions and strategy. King noted that many questioned the value of Big Blue’s $2 billion SoftLayer acquisition, which provided the foundation for IBM Cloud. With this alliance the value becomes clearer. King expects that the HANA Enterprise Cloud should pay off for IBM financially, as well as through competitive advantages.
“Overall, the SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud partnership seems likely to bring commercial success to IBM and SAP, significant benefits to their customers and substantial discomfort to the competition,” King said. “So far as IT industry ‘eureka!’ moments go, it seldom gets better than this.”